With Black Earth we hold in the palm of our hand Nature’s unknown depth and its persistent power. At times hidden, silent. Huge and invisible. A gateway to transcendence and the eternal.
In the poem by John Keats where Black Earth’s (slightly adapted) words are from, even in the wilting summer sun, that drains away birdsong, the Grasshopper sings with the joy of its existence. And in the silent winter the cricket, taking warmth near the stove, takes over this song. There may not even be a cricket, perhaps it’s just the kettle boiling? No matter, the song lives on in the mind of the drowsing person. The song of the grasshopper, the cricket, the kettle, and the person’s memories are one and the same, unified. Never dead.
In Lucy Farley’s painting, trees sit in the foreground in front of the town. They emanate a permanence in relation to the buildings and colours, which by contrast, seem to melt and recede into a blur, a background froth.
The trees themselves contain compelling movement and speed. The bold, vital strokes fill the trees with the energy of their creation. Their black imparts an arresting joy. This is a black of power, rich fertility and nourishment. Luxurious and fundamental.
Keats’ words and the poem they’re from typify the Romantics’ focus on nature to achieve extreme emotional states, delivering spiritual nourishment and truth.
Farley’s artistic process of deconstruction and reconfiguration focused on memory, history and nature has a similar aim. The strand of romanticism that runs through her work from the influences of Danish painters of the fifties and the English neo romantics, make for a powerful ART WRD package. Nourishing, fertile. Just like black earth.